Excitement about Rio de Janeiro – as well as development all around the city – has been on the rise since Brazil was announced as host of the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament, June 12-July 13. Matches will be played in stadiums all around Brazil, from Manaus in the north to Porto Alegre in the south. But, the honor of hosting the final match belongs to Rio and the Estadio do Maracana, one of the world’s largest soccer stadiums. Rio is also set to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, bringing even more attention to this lively and romantic city of sun and samba.
To prepare for an expected 300,000 visitors during the World Cup, the city and its residents (known as Cariocas) have been in a whirlwind of preparation. Cruise passengers who make a port call in Rio this summer and beyond will find new and revitalized transportation options around the scenic city; restaurants and sidewalk cafes ready to serve; and shops brimming with popular souvenirs like Brazilian coffee, Havaianas sandals and soccer jerseys.
Cruise ships dock at Rio’s Pier Maua, where your cruise line is likely to provide transportation to the city center or to the beaches of Copacabana; or, you can easily grab a taxi.
Rio’s historic downtown is known for beautiful churches, some dating back to the 17th century. There are excellent museums, ranging from the National Museum of Fine Arts to a museum dedicated to Brazil’s greatest star, Carmen Miranda. Your cruise line may also organize excursions to the city’s famous samba schools.
Many visitors head for the Art Deco-style statue of Christ the Redeemer, which opens its arms to the city atop 2,300-foot-high Corcovado mountain. You can ride a funicular railway up Corcovado for spectacular views of the city, nestled between Guanabara Bay and a mountainous urban forest. Or, take a cable car up Sugarloaf Mountain, a dramatic symbol of Rio, for equally spectacular views.
As in any large city, visitors to Rio are cautioned to watch out for pickpockets and other petty criminals. Follow the common-sense rules sightseeing in a group and staying in well-lit areas.
A cruise that departs from or calls on Rio can take you to other notable South American ports, such as Montevideo, Uruguay; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and around Cape Horn to Santiago, Chile, and Lima, Peru. To plan your cruise to Rio and more, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
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